Grumpy Is As Grumpy Does

March 28, 2006

Over the weekend I received a call from one of my coworkers. Usually a call from work like this pertains to work, however this turned out to be a social call. The gist of the conversation was asking me if I would like to come over to their house for dinner one night this week. I found this intrusive and off-putting on several levels.

First, in the year-and-a-half I have known this person there have been no real attempts at friendship beyond the normal "work acquaintance" level. On rare occasion (like maybe twice) there have been brief conversations that were not work related, but no real relationship has developed. I suppose this overture is a way of establishing a true friendship, but the cynic in me wants to know why? And why now?

Which brings me to point two. My change in status to widower has generated an increase in concern and attention from all sorts of people. For the most part the outpouring of emotion has been generous, heartfelt, and has given me hope. I truly appreciate all that everyone around me has done in the past five months. However, new friendship overtures make me wary, in much the same way I suspect people who suddenly acquire wealth are wary of new attention from people who previously left them alone. Why wasn't this friendship proffered prior to Michele's death? I am having a hard time not feeling like a charity case.

And so I am grumpy today. I feel trapped and out of control, two feelings that have plagued me since Michele's death. I know that feeling out of control is the biggest trigger I have right now, further I know that my reaction to it can be, ah, excessive. I felt out of control during the phone call this weekend; asking me point blank like that put me on the spot. And, having tentatively accepted I feel out of control about the entire evening. What if they serve salad, or some other dish I prefer not to eat. My capacity to be polite is at an all time low. What started as a generous offer of friendship could end up with ill feelings that will be difficult to incorporate into a work atmosphere.

In the end I know in my heart that Michele would want me to get out and explore new relationships and activities. If, as I believe, as part of her reason for ending her life was to remove the drag her illness placed on my life (I do not believe she in any way dragged me down, but I recognize she saw it differently) then my sitting at home and sulking forever would royally piss her off. Self pity is an ugly place to live and at some point I suppose I need to start back up towards the light of "normal" life from this well of despair I've inhabited since October 10, 2005.

However, I retain the right to be grumpy about all of this.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.